Childhood Obesity on Decline For The First Time In Decades

Source: Philipp Guelland/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Clearly Mobama can take credit for this one. 

The obesity rate for low-income children is finally on the decline after decades of increase, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control

Obesity in low income preschoolers declined in 19 states and territories between 2008 and 2011. 

Issues with obesity among children disproportionally affects poor and minority groups. Overall, 12 percent of preschoolers (ages two years old through four years old) are considered obese. Among low-income households that number is more like 14 percent. For hispanic and black preschoolers those numbers jump to 16 percent and a whopping 19 percent, respectively.

Of course, childhood obesity often leads to adult obesity and a slew of weight-related medical issues like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and joint issues. Children who are overweight in preschool are five times as likely as their peers to become overweight adults. 

So what's caused the rate to finally drop after years of increase or stagnation? Researchers aren't certain, but they credit healthier foods in programs for women and children, increasing rates of breast feeding, and decreases in the amount of sugar and calories in juices for helping to chip away at the problem.

Nationwide, 40 states participated in the study along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. Ten states were not included because of incomplete information. The CDC gathered data from 11.6 million low-income preschoolers, many of whom are from households that participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. 

The biggest declines in preschool obesity occurred in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The drop was less than one percent for each state. Only three states — Colorado, Tennessee and Pennsylvania — saw an increase in the obesity rate of preschoolers. 

Smaller research reports have showed a decline in the obesity rate of children, but the CDC report is the first to show the trend on such a large and broad scale.

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